7 November 2010 – Heavenly butternut squash soup and prosciutto-wrapped radicchio

I was really happy with this soup, made using the recipe given to me orally by the chefs at Pizzaiolo a couple of years ago.

The texture was light and creamy-smooth, and the taste was fantastic. I decided on radicchio with prosciutto as an accompaniment, and served it over baby lettuces tossed in vinegar (champagne) and oil dressing. We both thought that a sweeter dressing would have been better, but it was very good nonetheless.

It’s about time I put this entire soup recipe online. It’s so easy and so fantastic – and so seasonal! This is my interpretation of the few sentences kindly tossed off by the chef, while he was busy cooking.

One middlin’ butternut squash, one humongous yellow onion, one 1/4 lb stick of regular butter, thyme and sage, water.

Slice or dice the onion into a size that will stew nicely. The form does not matter because you’re going to whirl it later. Cook slowly in the melted butter till soft and translucent, perhaps 10-15 minutes. Don’t let it burn.

Peel and seed the butternut squash and remove the stringy parts. Cut the flesh into pieces maybe 3/4″ on a side. Again the shape is irrelevant, but the general size matters. The photo also shows the bouquet, which will be used later.

Add the squash pieces to the stewed onions and continue to cook slowly – perhaps on medium heat, perhaps lower – stirring from time to time so the pieces soften evenly and don’t burn, until they are also stewed. This will also take 10-15 minutes – maybe even 20.

Then add water to more-then-cover and a bouquet of thyme and sage, and cook till the squash is thoroughly done, perhaps another 20 minutes or so. I made the mistake at least once of thinking that minimal water would be best. The soup was tasty, of course, but very thick, and not as elegant and luxurious as the perfect version pictured here. Here is a picture of the water covering the stewed squash, and the little bouquet swimming in it.

Remove the bouquet and blend the soup till it’s beautifully smooth. Salt if you like – I generally find that the salt in the butter is sufficient.

I should also mention the radicchio with prosciutto. This is something we had at a favorite SF restaurant called L’Osteria del Forno. We wrap wedges of radicchio in prosciutto and grill them (all year, on the Viking) over medium heat, covered, and turning onto three sides, which gives the radicchio time to get well cooked. We don’t remember if Osteria oils the prosciutto (opinions differ, and we have been ordering other things there instead of this) nor whether the wraps are served over a salad or not. However, I did think this was a good presentation – it softens some of the salty/bitter harshness of the dish, which is inviting but can be overdone. A vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar or another softish, sweet one would be better than this one made with champagne vinegar.

D brought up a Chianti, which I confess I don’t remember much about, as I am writing this on the 20th. That’s the problem with having too many pictures 😉

This entry was posted in Meat as a flavoring, Soup and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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